Friday, August 29, 2014

Patrick Quinn and Bruce Rauner: just a few quotations and commentary from the IEA forum held on April 14, 2014

For your perusal:   here are a few interesting excerpts from the IEA debate on April 14, 2014 and my [bracketed] informal thoughts:

Quinn: “My mom worked for 33 years at a middle school [as a para-professional], a public school in Illinois. Our family believes in public education.” [However, I (Governor Quinn) also believe in stealing money public employees have earned for retirement so I can continue to give exorbitant tax breaks to wealthy, extortionate corporations that support me, and so I can also continue to ignore the state’s seriously-flawed revenue structure and pension debt problems]. 

Quinn: “I believe in investing in public schools… With the help of the IEA, I was elected in 2010.” [Despite the fact that I have severely cut the budget for public education while serving as governor, the IEA and other unions will support me unconditionally in 2014 since Dillard lost!].   

Quinn: “I believe in making sure that our teachers have a properly-funded pension as governor. I’m the first governor in a very long time to pay every year the proper amount of money into the pension fund.” [Though I have borrowed money to fund the system, I have also shorted TRS (its actuarial requirement) over $3 billion; thus, the state’s debt service continues to grow. Moreover, even though I did not uphold Article XIII, Section 5 (Pension and Retirement Rights) of the Illinois Constitution (after all, why should I?), ‘I didn’t create the (pension) problem. But I’m here to solve it. I know that I was put on earth to get this done,’ and I got it done! Of course, if I have to do it again, I will despite union funding. You can bet on it!].

Quinn: “I made a decision [to sign Senate Bill 1], and we’ll let the courts decide whether it was the right decision or not… We’ll accept whatever decision [the Illinois Supreme Court] makes. If that particular law is not upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court, we’ll go back and work with you [the IEA and other union leadership] on a law that will be upheld.” 

[Though it did not matter to me in December last year whether I upheld my oath of office and challenged Article XIII, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution, I am looking forward to signing another bill (perhaps just like Senate Bill 2404) into law with the approval of the Illinois General Assembly and the IEA and other unions of the coalition, so I, the General Assembly and the unions can legally diminish and impair both the retirees’ and current teachers’ constitutional rights and benefits, via another faulty attempt at consideration].

For a more developed and formal response than the short commentary I provided here, please review: Constitutional Issues Concerning Senate Bill 2404; please also review: Beware of the Trojan Horse that [Was] SB 2404 and the Concept of “Consideration”in Illinois Senate Bill 1.
Rauner: “You [teachers] are the most important profession in our society.” [And that is why I want to put all of you in a 401(K) so my vulture capitalist friends and I can make even more money off of your pension earnings (like I did in the past). Who cares if you are not eligible for Social Security benefits, or that a defined-contribution savings plan shifts all of the responsibilities and all of the risk from the State to you and; thus, your benefits are not guaranteed for life? After all, you should have control of your insignificant investments even though you’ll run out of money in a few years after your retirement; that’s if you’re lucky]!

For a more developed and formal response than the short commentary I provided here, please review: Defined-Benefit Pension Plan v. Defined-Contribution Savings Plan. 

Rauner: “After my parents and grandparents, the number one person in my life… was my third-grade teacher… I think about her all the time, [especially when I am making a disproportionate amount of money as a billionaire, private equity businessman and venture capitalist]. 

Rauner: “Quinn has broken his promise to you [public employees]… Years ago he said he would not change your pension, and he did! Years ago he said, ‘I will treat education funding as the top priority.’ What did he do? He cut education funding when he did not have to… We are a wealthy state. We’re 49th of 50 states in support for education… I am the one political candidate… who does not want to change the deal [a cavalier expression for constitutional contract?] for existing retirees or the existing accrued benefits in the pensions… I want to create a second pension plan in addition to (‘on top of’) the existing pension plan.” 

For a more developed and formal response, please review: The Hybrid Pension Plan as an Alternative to HB 5754 and Four Important Issues.

A Question Klickna had asked Quinn and Rauner: “Do you support shifting the employer’s contributions to our retirement accounts from the State to the local districts?”

Quinn: “No, not right now, [but if I am re-elected, then I mean, yes].” 
Rauner: “No.”
For a more developed and formal response, please review: Pension Cost Shift.

To quote a dear insightful friend and indefatigable activist: 

“I will not join the over-the-top Rauner panic instigated by union leaders who spent four million dollars on ALEC's chairman [Kirk Dillard]…  Not one word of criticism of Quinn, the most anti-labor governor in 50 years? Tons of speculation about Rauner, but not a word about what the next four years of Quinn might look like? 

“…If you feel compelled to vote for that pension thief, go to it. But [do not] suggest it is an obvious political act, as if those of us who view it differently are just too blind or stupid to get it is to put it bluntly: total bullshit… 

“[Indeed], voting takes a few minutes. Vote or don't vote as you wish. The differences are small and each is worse depending on the issue. What matters is what we build before and after… (Fred Klonsky).

I hope you have clicked on the links that I have provided for you. They offer a more developed and appropriate response than the short commentary I provided here.

Finally, Fred is right. We should start now and “build” a progressive base for a candidate that truly represents the working class. It is unfortunate our unions did not support such a candidate several months ago. As the author and brilliant activist Chris Hedges once stated: “Unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class struggle and filled with those who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated partners of the capitalist class. They have been reduced to simple bartering tools.”

All Quotations are from the following link:    
Bruce Rauner and Gov. Quinn Face Off in First Debate 



  1. No one could have said or presented this better than this.
    Why people don't realize that voting R ot D in this rigged race for governor was and is a set-up for the dismantling of public education and the eradication of past and present teachers is beyond me.

  2. Furthermore, does it matter who the Illinois Governor is in 2014?

    “…Madigan’s dominance over the legislative process means that lawmakers, lobbyists, and other supplicants must pay obeisance through favors, patronage, or political contributions. ‘We’re expected to follow along like lemmings and take a loyalty test over and over,’ griped Julie Hamos, a former Democratic state representative from Evanston, after Madigan and his lieutenants blocked a 2009 ethics plan that she supported from coming out of his Rules Committee…

    “Madigan controls far more than just half of one of the three branches of Illinois government, of course. He holds a second job as the chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, a third as the boss of Chicago’s 13th Ward, and a fourth as a name partner and the chief rainmaker of Madigan & Getzendanner. Together, they make up what one former Cook County elected official calls ‘the Madigan Political Industrial Complex.’

    “Take the state Democratic Party. Madigan uses his own war chest and the party campaign account to maintain his House majority, steering donations from corporate and special interests to favored candidates. Records show that Madigan has raised more than $35 million since 1994. He uses a third fund, Democratic Majority, to pay for polls, election materials, and campaign staff. That fund paid out almost $1 million in the final quarter of 2012, just before and after the November elections. Implicit in this arrangement is that his candidates, once they win, are beholden to him…

    “As a party committeeman, Madigan is also one of the main political masters who, cloistered in some backroom, picks which lawyers are slated for judgeships on the Circuit Court of Cook County. ‘That’s a big deal,’ says a Chicago political insider. ‘You got somebody by the balls when you make him or a family member a judge.’

    “…Given that nothing happens in Illinois government without Madigan’s blessing, many critics lay the blame for the state’s massive problems directly at his door. Illinois is broke, with pension debt approaching $100 billion and growing by $17 million a day. It has consistently failed to pass pension reform—or to reform much of anything else. Springfield has become a morass of inaction and ineptitude that has made the state a national laughingstock…

    “Most everyone who knows him agrees that Madigan is obsessed with winning. To him, bills are primarily cost-benefit analyses (‘Will this help or harm my majority?’). Not only does he crave power; he’s become captive to it. ‘His job is his life, and his life is his job,’ says James McPike, a legislator-turned-lobbyist who served 12 years as Madigan’s majority leader from 1983 to 1995 and remains one of the speaker’s closest friends. Adds a current Republican legislator: ‘This is his oxygen. He can’t give it up.’ And that, says Sacia, is Madigan’s ‘Achilles’ heel’” (Michael Madigan Is the King of Illinois by James Ylisela Jr.).

  3. I'll be happy when I see the people who betrayed us out of office and even better indicted for something. I would celebrate that day.

  4. So who should the next governor be? Or, which is the lesser of 2 evils.

  5. “I believe in investing in public schools… With the help of the IEA, I was elected in 2010.”
    And just barely…using the votes of the additional endorsement of union voters to nudge past Brady last time around. Now the IEA is in full-pitched mode to energize its base to vote for Quinn again as the lesser of two evils? Really…? Hasn’t Quinn already flatly stated he will return with another bill on pension reform when the Court declares this last one dead? Wouldn’t it be likely that this next bill would look remarkably similar to something like Cullerton’s SB2404 which offers a faux “consideration” of some kind? What was the union’s original position on “consideration” last time? Will negotiation with Quinn be better than going to war with Rauner? The IEA tells me “Vote for Quinn; the choice is clear.” They tell me that Quinn believes in collective bargaining. Weren’t our pensions bargained collectively? After a review of these last few years, lesser seems lesser than we might think.

    “If they didn’t appreciate your presence, maybe they’ll appreciate your absence.”